5 questions to Erika Barajas
1. About myself, my company; about the activities and my position within Tayska?
I am from Bucaramanga, Colombia, since 2010 I live in the Netherlands, I came as Au-Pair and I was allowed to stay longer in this lovely country. I studied Marketing and Advertising at Universidad de Santander, I came to Europe to find my own path and to grow.
Driven by my passion, I own the webshop Tayska.nl. I encourage myself to seek and approach new businesses, networking, love for shoes and care for others here in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and in Santander, Colombia. My heart is focused on the handmade shoes, made by single mothers, head of family of low income areas in Bucaramanga, Colombia and my goal is to introduce them and sell them into The Dutch market initially. Within the company, I am an all around employee and I am proud of it! meaning, I do everything, administration, sales, marketing, photography, graphic design, import of products, website, customer service, delivery... etc. I love the new challenges that came along with the webshop and I am up to learn and develop new or hidden skills.
2. What makes my company special?
I care about kids and parenting by offering high quality handmade shoes with magical designs, bringing the tropical experience from South America to kids from The Netherlands. Following the advice of experts, our shoes are designed keeping the flexibility to allow the free development of the kid foot, the used soles are elastic and allow flexion of the foot while walking; keeping these main principles and applying them during the manufacturing process, I believe our shoes make a big difference compared to other key players in the kids footwear market. Our shoes are non-mass produced, and my emphasis is based on the search for a balance between respect for the environment, economic growth and social well-being, both in Colombia and in The Netherlands.
3. Since when did I become an entrepreneur, and why did I want to make the step?
The whole idea of becoming entrepreneur started back then in 2017, when I was working for a shipping company in the sales department, I said to myself one day I want to run my own business. In May 2020, the company I was working for decided to mass fire employees (Due to COVID-19) and I though, I could be the next one to leave, in August 2020, I decided to approach local footwear fabricants in Bucaramanga, Colombia a and with the help of my family living in the same area, I made the decision to buy the first 192 pairs of shoes, using my relatives as Tayska’s representatives. In October 2020, I registered myself at the KvK and indeed in December 2020, the company I was working for did let me go. Since then, I am actively promoting my shoes in all social media platforms available.
Has been a fun and exciting journey so far, but cannot lie, is also scaring!
4. In addition to the contribution of my company to the Dutch economy, how does my company contribute to my own development?
Having this company, learned me to manage my own time and agenda, set my personal and professional objectives, I remain pragmatic, of course I follow my education, sales skills and background I’ve had developed in the shipping industry, at the same time I've had to dust off my camera and let my creativity flow again which is awesome!. I remain as well humble in the sense that due to Covid-19, it is wise to be down to earth when it comes to wins and high expectations without falling into desperation.
5. Finally, what would I like to share with other new entrepreneurs in 2021?
Keep trying, dare to launch your product or service, we all want to grow and contribute to this society, make connections within locals and expats, we all need to learn and help each other in these difficult times.